It’s been awhile since I wrote a blog post. Shame on me! I started this so my future fans can get to know me and I can make forays into the Professional Writing World, which subtly demands that the authors have a blog of some sort. Bloggsssss…….bleehhhhh *smacks cheeks vigorously and perks up, shaking my brain out of this nonsense*
OK! YAY blogging! Opinions only! Write what I want to write! This is an excellent thing!
…then why do I only have a dozen articles at best? Wellll a pesky thing called procrastination might have something to do with it. It’s in my genetic DNA. Can’t help that. (Actually my sister and mother are anti-procrastination so maybe I’m just the black sheep of the family :P) The other bigger part of this conundrum is every writer’s greatest nemesis, besides the foul-mouthed Editor Demon. It’s called:
I DUN WANNA.
I Dun Wanna write today because *fill in the blank*. It can be just about any excuse. No time. Headache. Chores. Errands. Too tired. Work. Deadlines. Weeding the garden. Kids. Pretty Little Liars Marathon on Netflix. All of these are legit excuses–I mean REASONS– why you can’t write. Priorities first right? Cool. Fine.
The thing is, when you first start a project, you’re all gung-ho for it. Remember that? Your fingers fly over the keyboard and your pen scratches fastidiously on whatever piece of paper is nearest at hand because you can’t WAIT to get your ideas out! You’re all fire and smoke and you babble to whomever will listen about your latest brilliant book idea! It’s NaNoWriMo material! Publishers will eat it up! So you write scenes and character bios and maybe even get as far as a scene list. The relationship is great and fun and fiery! At first. All lust and passion and late evenings contemplating the world by candle light and glasses of wine. It’s a beautiful thing for sure and you think that it if only it could last forever, book deals will rain down on you from Publishing Heaven.
So after the initial rush, you take a breath and go back to the beginning. What happens when the characters seem…TOO perfect? What if you start to think, Oh WOW, did that really just happen? You might hesitate when a scene demands something of you that you just aren’t ready for. Little things start to bother you. Then bigger things. You get frustrated and you can’t find the right words to express why. And suddenly it comes to this:
Not right now Honey. I have a Headache.
You feel guilty saying it, even if it’s not true. And you start paying less attention to the manuscript, making more and more excuses to NOT sit down and write. The relationship with your book changed. Now IT’S WORK. All the newness and bluster of the new idea wore off and you have to sludge through terrible first draft scenes and you have to make your perfect first character meaner/uglier/flawed. It seems like all your hard work was for nothing and will only ever be nothing.
You’d be right, of course, if you never did another thing with your piece of shat novel. But hey, you’re married to this book now. And if you REALLY want to test your mettle as a writer, then FINISH IT. Force yourself to face the painful things, the boring things, the gaps between scenes, the trashing of the last ten pages of absolute crap writing. This literally is the defining moment between Blog Writer and NOVELIST. James Patterson probably has every single crack in the walls of his office memorized and named from the hundreds of hours staring at them, trying to make his brain spit out new murderous plot twists. Nora Roberts probably has trenches worn around her garden as she walked and contemplated the next great heroine for her latest romance.
Contemplation and staring are fine. Chew pencils, turn circles in your spinny chair, balance a spoon on your nose….whatever works for you. But while you’re doing it, think about writing. Write a word. The another. And another. Put the punctuation at the end of the sentence and write another word. Even if you resent every damn word you write, just keep doing it! Because this is what being a professional writer means, working on your manuscript likes it’s your significant other. Work out the bad things, reward the good things. Talk it out. Re-read it. Reiterate.
Yep. it’s WORK writing a book. Yuck. I know friends. It’s hard. I know for sure it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. You have to dig deep inside yourself and explore dark corners you never knew existed. For example, I’m writing an anti-hero into my novel and he’s very…cruel. He LIKES hurting people and toying with people and he doesn’t give a rat’s ass who doesn’t like him. His voice is harsh and true and unrelenting. To write this character I’ve had to explore hidden places in myself that have made me…not a nice person of late. Like an actor slipping into a role. It’s rough. But if you stick with it, and DON’T fake headaches, the rewards might be really great. You could get a publishing deal out of that!
Maybe you won’t. Not gonna lie. But are you really going to pass up that chance?
The best piece of advice I come across over and over while I research the writing world is to KEEP WRITING. The more you write, the better you’ll become.
Pick any writer and read their very first novel. Then read their latest one. I bet you’ll see a vasssssttttttt improvement.
I am struggling a great deal with this concept myself because I can’t balance my life right now to fit writing in among all the other things. I know that it really needs to be the other way around because above all things, I WANT TO BE A WRITER. I’m at the hard part of my writing relationship where writing is work and I get so frustrated and disappointed that I just table flip and walk away.
Simple advice? Write what you’ve got. If it’s only three scenes, write that. The rest will come if you work at it.
Just keep writing. NO Headaches 😉 (Or maybe occasionally….)
Also if you need another pick me up about why you’re a bad ass for writing a novel, check out this blog. It’s a good reminder about why you do what you do 🙂